Heading Home

Posted in Uncategorized on September 30, 2012 by carshamus

We have spent the last few days in LA staying at Redondo Beach, a great place on the water. We have walked around the beaches and pier and took in a gorgeous sunset.

The pelicans are so tame here waiting around for fishing boats and fisherman alike to feed them scraps. Please note it is not a good idea to get to close to take a photo with them as they do try and snap for food…lesson learnt.

Yesterday we drove to Venice Beach and took in the sights and interesting people that dwell there. We even got to be extras in a television commercial that they were filming there.. we thing it has something to do with basketball as there were 30 or so men dressed like players. ( they may have been actual players we are not sure) It was awesome to see how they film it and the effects they use to make it look unreal, hopefully we can see the finished product.
We ended the night at the marina at the Cheesecake Factory having a scrumptious meal for our last night here.
Today we are packing up and heading off to spend the day around LA before flying out tonight.
Cannot believe this holiday is drawing to an end, we have had an awesome time, but cannot wait to see family when we get home…..

San Fran

Posted in Uncategorized on September 28, 2012 by carshamus

We have spent the last three days of our holiday in San Francisco taking in the sights and enjoying the great food in the area. We walked to Pier 39 down at fisherman’s wharf and had clam chowder in a sour dough bread bowl, ate yummy crepes with chocolate and fresh Californian strawberries, watched the sea lions laze in the sun on the pier and took the cable car up into the city and did some shopping at Union square.

The one thing we didn’t see was the Golden Gate Bridge, which was pretty much covered in fog the whole time we were there. Lucky I got some good shots last time I was here in 2009. We caught there Muni the local electrified bus to Chinatown and took in the sights and sounds of this thriving community. I think we were there on grocery day as the locals were out in full force looking at everything from fresh peanuts in their shells; live shrimp swimming in tanks to freshly caught salmon and weird looking fungi that did not look at all appetising.

We are now heading down the 101 to Los Angeles our last stop on our trip before we fly out in a few days.

So here is a recap on the trip so far and where we have been.
In the USA have been to nine states
• California
• Nevada
• Utah
• Colorado
• Arizona
• Wyoming
• Montana
• Washington State
• Oregan
And twelve National Parks
• Death Valley National Park
• Grand Canyon National Park
• Canyonlands National Park
• Arches National Park
• Mesa Verde National Park
• Petrified Forest National Park
• Yellowstone National Park
• Crater Lake National Park
• Lassen Volcanic National Park
• Glacier National Park
• Olympic National Park
• Grand Teton National Park

In Canada we went to two Provinces
• Alberta
• British Columbia
And visited
• Waterton – Glacier National Peace Park
• Banff National Park
• Yoho National Park
• Jasper National Park
• Kootenay National Park
• Glacier National Park
There were also a few State Parks, a Meteor Crater and just a few shopping centers thrown in for good measure. …..Heading into Los Angeles we have done 7,800 miles and we still have a few days to go… Did I mention I am tired?…I think I will sleep on the plane home no worries…. More soon x

Squirrels, Lighthouses and Seals

Posted in Uncategorized on September 24, 2012 by carshamus

After breakfast we headed down to Glass Beach in Fort Bragg which is abundant in sea glass created from years of dumping garbage back in the early 20th century into an area of coastline near the northern part of the town. While the area is now a state park and it is illegal to take the glass from the beach there were many people down there scouring and collecting the little glass that is left there and as a result GlassLess Beach would be a more appropriate name.

I did come across a couple of grey squirrels that lived in an old tree trunk on the way out of the beach who was happy to pose for me and another person there taking photos. I do love a good squirrel shot.

We then headed on down the windy and twisty coastal 101 towards San Fran stopping along the way to take in the views and scenery. We stopped just out of town and took a walk down to Point Cabrillo lighthouse. This state park and nature preserve is one of the most complete (restored) light stations in America. The 100-year-old lighthouse – with its British-built Fresnel Lens operates as a Federal Aid to Navigation.


We once again headed south and stopped at the Point Arena Lighthouse overlook. From here we could see the lighthouse and rocky coastline and also got to watch a group of Seals “sun” themselves and try and snooze while rough waves washed over them. What a great sight!

We were soon back into the crazy freeway traffic heading into San Francisco as this wild fog rolled across us as we neared the Golden Gate Bridge. At one point all the traffic stooped dead as vision was at zero, gotta love that fog. As we drove over the bridge the fog continued to envelope it with only sections visible. The temperature had dropped to love 50’sF by this stage.

Time to head to the Motel and warm up ….

Driving….

Posted in Uncategorized on September 23, 2012 by carshamus

It was a day of driving with not a lot to see in the way but one highlight a pull out on the highway to see Mt Shasta, a large snow covered mountain in the distance with a volcanic crater like mound coming off from the side of it. This was a really gorgeous sight from the viewing point.

We then headed on towards Klamath Falls and stopped in Redding on the way through to do a bit of shopping at one of the massive shopping places on the outskirts of town. It is well and truly time to buy another suitcase as we are overloading the one we brought with us and have already broken the handle on it so we have to drag it in each night.
The next morning we headed out to Lassen Volcanic National Park where you can view Lassen Peak, one of many volcanoes found around the Ring of Fire. It was formed 27,000 years ago as a volcanic vent on the northern flank of Broke-off Volcano. It is one of the world’s largest plug dome volcanoes rising 2,000ft to an elevation of 10,457 feet. There were sections of hydrothermal activity with sulphur pots bubbling and smoking away in the park, I love the colours and patterns this activity creates on the landscape.


We then headed back towards Redding for a little more shopping. (And we got another suitcase)
Next day we drove back over to the coast again stopping at a little town called Willow Creek to go to the Bigfoot museum, apparently we were now in bigfoot country where filmed sightings of the beast has occurred. Besides the massive carved Bigfoot outside the museum that is.

We arrived at Arcata our stop for the night. The hotel was great, a new place with all the amenities however the town for a Californian coastal town was quite run down and full of street people and transients all equipped with cardboard signs wanting food, money and other such things. We overheard a local shopkeeper say to another tourist welcome to Hobo County. (Not Humboldt which is named) Every door of each shop in a local shopping centre was littered with people sitting at the doorways with signs. This is not a place I would recommend worth a visit and to be honest we were happy to leave.
Again we headed off south our destination the Avenue of the Giants, a self drive through thousand year old redwood giants with light filtering gently through the trees. This is a must do amazing drive.

We stopped along the way and explored the forest floor and took in the sights of these old long standing giants and took in the art of a local chainsaw sculptor and all his amazing wood creations creations.
We then again headed towards the coast and along some beautiful shoreline towards Fort Bragg our home for the night.

San Francisco tomorrow……………

 

P.S Sunset at Fort Bragg tonight ..stunning

Bears, Lions and Yaks Oh MY!!!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 19, 2012 by carshamus

After breakfast we left Roseburg and headed for Winston a little town just up the freeway. We were headed to the drive through Wildlife Safari which is a 600 acre drive through park filled with hundreds of animals from Africa, Asia and the Americas. We arrived just after nine and spent about three hours driving through the park and then exploring the little village at the end of the road journey. This was indeed a highlight of the trip seeing so many wonderful creatures up close and from the comfort of the car.

Throughout the park were park attendants in watchtowers keeping an eye on vehicles in case people got out amongst the animals because and I quote from one of them “cause they do.” We stopped the car and spent a long time in the Grizzly Bear drive through enclosure watching one bear happily playing in the water and another sitting in his favourite hole he had dug himself for comfort, being this close to these wonderful creatures was amazing.

Other highlights were seeing a Gemsbok, never even knew what it was before that, the gorgeous Flamingos, a bird I have always wanted to see in the flesh (feathers) so to speak and watching the giraffe up close. There was also these amazing Watusi cattle with massive horns I have no idea how they held their heads up.
The emus seemed to know we were fellow countrymen and came right up to the window ( which I had closed) and tried to get in to go home with us as they were very intrigued and then as we slowly moved on followed us down the road as if wanting a lift. This was a tremendous place to visit and I am so glad that we found out this place existed. (Thanks Random McNally Road map for best of the road advice)

We then headed back through Roseburg and out of town on our way to Crater Lake national park, by this time it was nearly 2pm so again it is going to be a long day. We stopped at a restaurant/bakery in a little place called Glide and had two of the best burgers ever. Mine was overloaded with fresh avocado and it was to die for.
Again we headed onward to the lake but are currently struck in our fourth set of road works whilst I blog this on the road and as it is nearing 4pm and we still have a long way to go we may just see the lake before sunset. More soon once we get to where we are headed ……
Back again so we arrived at Crater Lake National Park (Oregon’s only National Park, although I do not know why as this is one of the nicest places for natural beauty with the gorgeous coastline, the mountains and the Forests) and stopped at the first lookout point and walked up to the crest of the overlook to see a massive volcano crater filled with water and nestled in its waters was Wizard Island another small crater.

We drove around part of the rim stopping at overlooks and taking in the views.
This has been an awesome day…. Now onto Klamath Falls for our last night in Oregon before driving back into California tomorrow and as the locals seem to like saying Night Ya All!

Volcano 101

Posted in Uncategorized on September 18, 2012 by carshamus

Yesterday we headed to Mt St Helens a long drive out on windy roads stopping along the way at the turn outs to take in the sites. It was quite hazy, a result of smoke from a bushfire being blown into the area we later learned. Mount St. Helens is an active stratovolcano located in Skamania County, Washington.

Mount St. Helens is most notorious for its catastrophic eruption on May 18, 1980, at 8:32 am the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railways, and 185 miles of highway were destroyed. A massive debris avalanche triggered by an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale, caused an eruption, reducing the elevation of the mountain’s summit from 9,677 ft to 8,365 ft and replacing it with a 1 mile wide horseshoe-shaped crater. The debris avalanche was up to 0.7 cubic miles in volume. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was created to preserve the volcano and allow for its aftermath to be scientifically studied.
You can still see the devastation from this event over 32 years later. Hills that have been stripped bare and trees that have been shredded from the blast still liter the area. This monument was really interesting and Mt St Helens was still blowing off a little steam just to let you know it was there.

We then drove back toward the coast to stay at a seaside town aptly named Seaside in Oregon. We have never been to Oregon but what we have seen so far we like. Seaside is your typical seaside location with a wide long beach that reminds me of those in California.
We took a stroll around the beach and streets and then had a delish seafood dinner before heading back to the motel for the night.
The next morning after a walk down to the beach we headed off and took the long drive down the 101 coast going in and out of towns. Cannon beach is an extremely quaint town with wonderful residences along the beach. Shops with window boxes filled with flowers and shingled beach homes filled the street.
Highlights of the drive we some seals swimming and awesome rock formations off the coast, the weird fog that came down on us in the sunshine so that we could not even see the water, the Oregon sand dunes and the elk we watched grazing in a field after we turned off from the coast on our way to our hotel for the night.

With getting into the motel after 8pm we are tired…yet another big day tomorrow as well…I must sleep.

Another Fork in the Road

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2012 by carshamus

Took a walk down to the pier this morning and enjoyed a mochachino and a blueberry muffin sitting watching the seagulls play and the Coho Ferry sail out of sight into the horizon on its way to Canada before we left Port Angeles for the final time.
We drove down to Forks a lovely drive through forest and past still lakes reflecting pines.

Forks is known for being the setting of the Twilight series books and we just happened to arrive on Bella’s Birthday and Stephanie Myer weekend celebration. We took a walk down the main street and then out to the Visitors centre to see Bella’s truck from the movie. The town was in full Twilight mode.

After leaving there we drove further down the Olympic coast and stopped at Ruby Beach. This was a gorgeous stony beach with massive rock formations coming up from the water and watching the waves crash against them here was awesome.

There was driftwood everywhere and people had made rock stacks all over them, an interesting site and great for rock shots, which I quite enjoy.


The rest of the day was driving in and out of forest and farmland on the way to Chehalis a stop for the night on the way to Mt St Helens tomorrow.